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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Good Advice on Writing Week 4: The Discipline of the Writer


Set aside time each day, or select days each week, and write. Don't wait until you're inspired, because if you do, you'll never finish anything.
-Christopher A. Bohialian

I've discovered a lot about myself as a person since I've begun my journey as a published writer. For many years after I got my first "real" job and started my family, I didn't make time for writing. I was doing what I loved (working in healthcare) and raising my daughters. One day I sat down at the computer and decided I was going to try "that writing thing" again. I wrote three novels that, admittedly, weren't very good structurally, in a very short time. Still, I never planned to try to publish my work.

I decided to begin posting a bit of a story on Facebook, and my mother was adamant that I finish it. I sat down and wrote out the novel of fallen angels, a mythical KEY, and forbidden love. It turned out my story wasn't all that bad! I decided to look into publishing my work with a small press to get my foot in the door of the publishing world. After a few months of submitting my work...I got a publishing offer! The rest is history. I've since published ten novels and numerous short stories and novellas, and I feel that with each new work my sense of voice, craft and style got stronger. 

The thing that hasn't improved is my discipline. I've never been what you might call a "plotter", and I dislike trying to outline my stories before I sit down to write them. From time to time, the issue is that I just won't sit down to write! There's always tv to watch, laundry to wash, meals to cook and a myriad of other reasons that are all really just excuses to stop me from writing! Why would I do that to myself? Writing, like any job without strict supervision, requires willpower and dedication. It also requires a strict discipline. As suggested above, I've tried to combat this lack of will with a schedule. At the beginning of the week I know which days I have my afternoons and nights available for writing, and I make sure that I don't allow myself to make excuses NOT to write. This has been a very difficult thing to learn how to do, and it is harder than sticking to a diet or avoiding the mall when I'm low on cash! 

The best advice I can give is exactly the same advice that Mr. Bohialian gives. Make a schedule and stick to it. Know when you can write in your ideal environment without distractions, and take away everything that can possibly distract you. Lock doors, unplug the television and turn off your phone. Don't let YOU get in the way of you. A writer's best product is his writing, and you can't be a published author without a book to sell! 

Thanks for joining me on Amy Reads & Writes, and I hope to have you all stop by my upcoming YouTube channel debut. I will be reading passages from my favorite books and discussing how they made me feel, what I think they mean and my take on the book. I look forward to discussing my favorite books with everyone!

Happy Reading! 
~AR

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